Callaway introduces Hex Chrome+ Golf Ball

Callaway's Hex Chrome+ Golf Ball

ORLANDO, Fla. – Callaway Golf has announced that it plans to have the new, four-piece Hex Chrome+ golf ball in pro shops on April 19. It will be positioned as a tour-quality ball for mid- to fast-swinging golfers who want to maximize distance. Gary Woodland, one of the PGA Tour's longest hitters, will start using the ball in play Thursday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The original Hex Chrome ball, a three-piece, urethane-covered model designed to maximize distance for players with lower swing speeds, will remain in Callaway's line.

"The disadvantage of the softer core is that when you get to higher-swing-speed players, the ball speed suffers quite a bit, even though you still have relatively low spin," says Dave Bartels, the senior director of golf ball research at Callaway Golf. "That's why the original Hex Chrome wasn’t played on Tour. So with the Chrome+, we decided to make a ball that performs as well for higher-clubhead-speed players at that price point."

Chrome and Chrome+ will cost $35.99 per dozen.

The core of the Hex Chrome+ is slightly smaller than the Hex Chrome's, to accommodate the second mantle layer, and also is slightly firmer.

"When you make the core firmer, generally what happens is that your spin off the driver goes up," Bartels says. “But we were able to add that second mantle layer to tweak that and keep the spin down.”

According to Bartels, Callaway studied several combinations of mantle constructions and decided that a softer inner mantle and a firmer outer mantle provided the best spin reduction and performance enhancement.

A hexagonal-tiled cover, which was a recent update for the Hex Black Tour ball, has been used in the construction of the Chrome+. Bartels says that it features better aerodynamics and makes the ball hold its line more effectively in the wind because it decreases drag and creates more lift on tee shots.

Callaway says that the urethane cover itself is especially soft, to help golfers spin the ball and get more control on wedge shots, chips and pitches.

Though the Hex Chrome+ and the five-piece Hex Black Tour balls are designed for fast swingers, the Black Tour reduces spin even more than Chrome+, making it a better choice for golfers who naturally create a lot of spin.

Woodland, who signed an endorsement deal with Callaway before the 2013 PGA Tour season, said of the Chrome+: "It’s consistent, durable, and it’s good in the wind.”

As hard as the former University of Kansas star swings, Woodland doesn’t generate a lot of spin off the tee, so neither the spin-zapping Hex Black Tour nor the soft Hex Chrome perfectly fits his game. For that reason, Woodland had been playing a prototype of the Hex Chrome+ since the start of the season.

“Out of everything that I have changed this year, there was never any question about the ball,” Woodland said Tuesday after smacking a 3-wood about 290 yards down the fairway on the 10th hole during his practice round at Bay Hill. “Once I tested it, I knew that was the ball.”

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